Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell-- The time has come
Back in the 1990s the phrase "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" became part of our vocabulary. Hopefully this ill-begotten phrase will become history in the near future. As President Obama pledged to do in his campaign, he has laid the foundations for just such a move.
The policy was developed in 1993 as a compromise between then President Clinton and then Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell, who did not believe that gays and lesbians should serve openly in the military. And a phrase and a policy was born.
This past week, in testimony before Congress, the Secretary of Defense (by party affiliation a Republican) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, called for an end to this policy. Admiral Mullen straightforwardly declared the reason why this should end:
“No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”
This is gets to the heart of things -- the current policy encourages deceit, and its dangerous to those forced into the closet. And what happens if people are found out, well they are court marshaled -- and as a result the military often loses very skilled individuals -- we've seen this recently as the military has lost translators and intelligence officers, it has sorely lacked.
It is sad that John McCain, who once said he would consider supporting a change in the law if the military leadership called for it, now is backtracking. For some reason, the Senator once known for crossing the party lines has become one of the most resistant to do such a thing.
Anyway, its time that this policy be revoked by Congress -- and they must take that step, before it can be moved forward.
Oh, and then a word back to the church -- if the Military is getting ready to end this odious policy, maybe we should drop this phrase from our vocabulary as well! No need encouraging deceit in the church!